Spring 2004 (12.1)
and Fatmanisa (2003)
Poet Fikrat Goja was born in the Kotanarkh
village of the Aghdash region on August 25,1935. He graduated
from the Institute of Literature named after Maxim Gorky (1964).
Currently, he is the Executive Editor of Gobustan magazine and
Secretary of the Writers' Union. His poems have been translated
in various world languages. He is the author of the following
books: Sea Gull (Gaghayi, 1963); When the Moon Was Swimming in
the Sea (Danizda Ay Chimanda, 1967); One Day (Gunlarin Bir Gunu,
1972), Character of A Man (Insan Khasiyyati, 1980, Letter to
Myself (Ozuma Maktub, 1983), Pages from Life (Omurdan Sahifalar,
In addition to writing poetry, he has translated some of the
works of Lermontov and Pushkin from Russian into Azeri. Goja
is the recipient of the following awards: Honored Art Worker
(1978), Glory Order (Shohrat, 1995), and National Poet (2000).
He has been a recipient of the Presidential Stipend since 2002.
This short story, "Adam
and Fatmanisa," was translated by Aytan Aliyeva and Aynura
Huseinova and edited by Betty Blair.
I'm Adam. Yes, the first man
that God created - Adam. My wife is the same - Eve, the first
woman. No, I'm not crazy, absolutely not. I'm conscious - I know
very well what I'm saying. I mean, nine months before my birth
I was the same Adam that God created. My wife, I mean Fatmanisa
[pronounced fat-ma-ni-SA]-was Eve.
God showed us the beautiful fruit on a tree and said, "Don't
eat this fruit". Oh my God, how beautiful that fruit was!
God created it drawing upon his full creative power. We were
not hungry, but that fruit tempted us. Its scent and beauty were
enough for us. But, no, temptation overcame our willpower. By
God, we were not hungry. On the other hand, Eve - I mean Fatmanisa
- was enticing me: "Let's taste it. Please! Let's taste
"He said not to touch it. Didn't He?"
"Then it means we can't!"
"We can't, we can't! Why? For whom is He saving it? He created
you and me, right? Then who will eat it? No one sees us, let's
"Confess that you're afraid!"
"Of whom? Who am I afraid of?"
"I don't know. You're afraid of the One who said we couldn't
eat it. You think He has nothing to do but to watch us. Probably,
he's saving it for future generations that He will create. Perhaps,
now He is creating a new Adam and Eve. And He doesn't even remember
us. Let's taste it."
Finally, Eve - I mean Fatmanisa - seduced me. In short, I picked
the fruit and we ate it. Our causative places started to become
visible. It turned out that we had originally been created as
transparent creatures and had been invisible. After eating the
fruit, we became visible. We hid among the leaves. It turned
out that the fruit was love - divine, pure and marvelous love.
We could have lived happily with the fruit's scent and beauty
forever. It would have been enough for all creatures. But no,
Eve was not satisfied with that; she wanted to pick, eat, chew,
swallow and digest it in her stomach. We turned that love into
feelings of passion and lust.
God kicked us out on Earth. He put our transparency and purity
into Eve's stomach. In order to get accustomed to Earth, we had
to pass a nine-month long adaptation period in Eve's womb. Finally,
we entered into the world - the place of punishment for us. The
very day we arrived we began to cry - even before opening our
eyes because we were afraid of the air and of smells. It was
the right time to cry. We cried.
People around us who were laughing were not of interest to us.
Let them laugh. I had begged God to let me come into this world
alone. Eve was not with me. I was lucky to get rid of her. Her
punishment should have been more than this. It had been so wonderful;
I used to be transparent and weightless.
Now I eat; and as I eat, I become heavier. And I'm decent-sized
burden. They take me in their arms and carry me. I have no strength
to carry my own body around.
Eventually, I begin to creep, then crawl and, finally, barely
manage to stand on my feet and walk. It's not a body but rather
a heavy burden. God weighed me down and now I have to creep and
carry this weight. I put all my energy into feeding it and keeping
it alive. I would abandon it and run away, but this is punishment
from God, so I must bear it.
On the one hand, I have to feed and gain weight for it; on the
other hand, I have to creep along and carry it. In the end, when
my strength is exhausted and my punishment is over, I'll leave
this burden called "body" and I'll be free. But who
knows when that will happen.
Once I saw Eve, standing on the street, and smiling at me. I'm
talking about Fatmanisa. What trouble we got into. I would have
run away, but the scent and beauty of that fruit was causing
Fatmanisa's face, eyes, breath, and smile to sparkle, and it
attracted me so much. My God, it seems the punishment you gave
me was Eve - I mean Fatmanisa, Astaghfurullah1. One can't run away from this attractive
punishment - sweet trouble. How can one do it? Even if I ran,
where could I run to? Until the end of my punishment when I again
become transparent and weightless, and I enter into service of
God, I am here. The only way to run away from God is to run towards
Eve, again, seduced me. We again ate that fruit. I had been complaining
about dragging my own body, but now I started to carry Fatmanisa
as well. One day I felt that Fatmanisa was heavier than me. I
put my hand on her belly. My God!...God had created another guilty
creature like me sending him to the Earth.
"Fatmanisa, I charge you to take care of this guest. Be
careful. Introduce him to this world that we have destroyed.
Probably, I won't be able to stand this burden any more and will
"What did I do wrong? What am I guilty of?" asked Fatmanisa.
"Your guilt is that you seduced me and caused us to get
kicked out of that beautiful paradise, Fatmanisa."
"What was so beautiful about it? Your feet didn't touch
the ground nor did your head touch the sky there. We were without
weight or color. You couldn't do this. You couldn't do that.
These troubles are better than those. It's so good to do what
is forbidden. The pleasure I got from a bite of that fruit is
worth more than its scent of a thousand years. That one moment
was the greatest long-lasting happiness.
"Have you enjoyed it? Then carry it nine months in your
belly, then in your arms, then on your neck... Then"
"I will. God gave this to me. Whether it is a child or trouble,
it is what God has given us. It is sweet and dear to me. God
is so wise and great that both the troubles and punishments that
He bestows are sweet, tasty and irreplaceable.
Fatmanisa said so...I think. God made her say that. My God, forgive
me, it seems I'm still alive, because my punishment hasn't finished
yet. I haven't yet comprehended this. I still haven't understood
His sayings. Eve seems to have caught on to those thoughts quicker
than I did - I mean Fatmanisa...
"Astaghfurullah" is an Arabic term related to Islam
meaning, "May God deliver me from this!" It has a similar
meaning to Allah Elamasin: "May God not let this happen!"
"Fikrat Goja: Famous People, Then and Now" AI 7.4 (Winter
1999) pp 46-47.
The following poems were translated
with the assistance of Aytan Aliyeva, Aynura Huseinova, and Ulviyya
Mammadova. Edited by Betty Blair.
An Ordinary Man Up
I am not a gulp of water to
I am not a road to be walked upon without ceasing.
It's true, I'm just an ordinary man,
I'm not as great as you to become smaller.
It is greatness itself to just be an ordinary man, my brother!
It is a heavy burden to carry this name
For an entire lifetime.
I have my own family,
My own children,
My own bread, my own life,
My own generation,
My own house,
My own name.
I have a good neighbor
And I have a bad one, too.
I have both friends and enemies!
(Whether it is right or wrong)
I have my own self!
I am an ordinary man
Neither great, nor small.
It's a heavy burden itself just to be an ordinary man.
I have both an open door,
And an open heart for my friends,
I always have bread and salt* on my table.
I am ready to meet death as a real man.
I am ready to struggle and fight for it.
But I can't meet death grain-by-grain, drop-by-drop.
I can't greet my enemy with a smile.
I am not a diplomat;
I'm just an ordinary man
I should be given credit if
I can hold onto this name until the end.
* "Bread and salt"
means that he is always ready to extend hospitality to his friends.
Of all the kings in this world
There are only two kings left
One is white; the other, black.
Only the worst two good-for-nothings
Are left on the chessboard
Both of them are in bad condition.
Their names are king,
But they are mere toys.
Two kids wearing clothes like kings.
They will do what you tell them.
Both of them have
Their knights, castles and troops beside them.
Both of them have forgotten
About their farmers, builders and songwriters.
Even the dead soldiers don't know
Which of their kings is guilty.
But it doesn't even cross their minds that
The head of their kings
Is between two fingers of a player.
Tell me, would there be a bonfire,
If there were no flame?
Would the forge be lit,
If there were no bellows?
They say a precious stone doesn't lose its value,
Even if it falls on the ground.
But if no one picks it up,
It will be trampled under foot.
Wouldn't the dagger become rusty
Without its sheath?
Has it ever snowed or stormed without clouds?
Perhaps God became invisible,
Because someone made Him thus.
Look at the water, the trees, people,
Would life exist without the Sun?
Isn't a walking stick helpful to an old man
Who cannot walk because of age.
Let no one shirk from responsibility,
All of us need each other.
Better not to call a person a man,
Who doesn't help others in need.
is a Future
Fortunately, people pass away,
Fortunately, people are born,
If the world belonged only to one generation,
Then the roads of the world would be much shorter.
From the beginning, winter is
And spring is spring.
Time moves in cycles.
The fish have always lived
Beneath the feet of human beings,
And the birds above them.
The air on the earth's surface
And the water under the soil
Restore the land and give it back to the people.
You don't know
Whether a human being turns into soil,
Or the soil turns into a human being.
There's no use of your knowing
Life takes back everything it gives.
What is left in the soil
Is what is left from people,
If they themselves don't destroy what is left.
The past always consoles itself
with the past,
Time circles, ways become longer.
The future has always been bright.
Fortunately, the world has a future.
An Unfinished Work
An unfinished work is
An engaged son or daughter
Without a wedding.
An unfinished work is
An autumn without harvest.
An unfinished work is
A road without a bridge,
A land without a road,
A tongue without a word.
An unfinished work is
A work done without a goal,
A curse without meaning,
A kiss without love.
An unfinished work is
A roof with a ceiling
Brother, in short,
An unfinished work is
A person who is good for nothing.
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AI 12.1 (Spring 2004)
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